Hawaiian Airlines was offering its Pre-release program, which removes quarantine restrictions for approved travelers, exclusively for passengers flying from various domestic airports to Honolulu. No longer. This option has now been extended to international airports for the first time, allowing some East Asian passengers to take advantage of it.
The Pre-Release Program has been adopted for those flying on this airline from Tokyo Narita International Airport – which started taking place over the weekend – and is being expanded this week to those flying from Kansai International Airport in Osaka, Japan and Incheon Seoul International Airport, South Korea.
This program was already in operation at 15 airports based in the United States, including those located in Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York and Boston. Austin-Bergstrom International Airport on the 16th in Texas will be added to that list on April 22.
What the Pre-Clearance Program offers is the ability for these passengers to skip the often long waits to be released clinically upon arrival in Honolulu and to be able to immediately explore the state without the need for quarantine for any time before being authorized.
To participate in this program, passengers need to create a Safe travel account, submit your flight and accommodation information, complete your health questionnaire and upload a PDF of a negative COVID-19 test result that correlates with a test that was done within 72 hours of the scheduled departure time for your flight with destination to Hawaii. The test must have been done with a approved provider.
Passengers must be prepared to show that all required steps have been completed when checking in at the airport of departure and to show officers after arriving in Hawaii. If they cannot, they will be subject to the 10-day quarantine required of many who enter that state.
Hawaiian authorities hope that easing their state’s quarantine restrictions will thus help to further stimulate the economy, which is highly dependent on tourism, while doing so “in a safe way for visitors and our community”, according to Theo Panagiotoulias, senior vice president of global sales and alliances at Hawaiian Airlines.
One of the reasons why tourism should increase as a result of expanding this program to Japan and South Korea and potentially to other places thereafter is because the Pre-released Program “simplifies the travel experience for our international guests,” said Panagiotoulias .
Japan, in particular, is vitally important to the Hawaiian tourism market, as 1.6 million Japanese tourists visited Hawaii in 2019, before that number plummeted to 300,000 a year later. Meanwhile, its focus on South Korea is also significant; a second weekly flight between Seoul and Honolulu was recently added.